Ken’s Steaks & Ribs, Amber, OK

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I have heard about Ken’s for a number of years. Last Fall, Raegan and I stopped by there on the way to a Girl Scout training camp near Marlow, but we found that Ken’s was cash only, and the only ATM in town didn’t work, so we headed on to Chickasha (I had this spelled Chickasaw in the original post, but I got corrected by someone who apparently has no good manners at all).

We were picking up Erin from summer Scout camp this afternoon, so we decided to give Ken’s another try. It’s about 10 minutes north of Chickasha. We stopped in Chickasha and got some cash this time.

We got to Ken’s about 1730. I had some concerns about a possible wait, but we were seated immediately. The place was not even 1/3 full.

A surprise: Each person at the table gets a smoked rib! I have to say, they were some darn fine ribs. The flavor was really good, the crust was a nice touch. They were not the most tender ribs I’ve had, but I rated them a 9 on a scale of 1 to JTs. They were not terribly warm. I found out later that the slabs are brought in and tossed on the grill to warm them up before they are served. They needed to be on the grill a little longer.

There is no printed menu – the servers tell you what they have, usually rapid fire. The menu is: Sirloin 8 or 12 oz, prime rib (BIG pieces, look 16 oz), three or five ribs, or chicken.

I ordered the big sirloin, Erin got three ribs (well, really, Dad did, and Erin just wanted the baked potato), and Raegan got the smoked chicken.

Everyone get the salad bar. There isn’t much to it – iceberg lettuce, grated carrots, and a couple other things I didn’t usually get on salads. Three or four dressings. I got ranch. It was too sweet, a little went a long way. The salad bar has bowls for you to get pinto beans (pretty darn good!) or fried okra (also pretty darn good, could have been just a bit crispier).

My steak was really good. It was thick, more than 1″, and perfectly cooked. There was quite a lot of black pepper on it. It could have been a bit more tender, but it was a thick cut; I ended up cutting along the grain like you would brisket, and got a little less chewing workout. There was a good amount of beef flavor there.

One comment – sirloin is OK, but if Ken’s is serious about steak, they need to include New York Strip or a Ribeye on the menu.

Raegan’s chicken was variable. The dark part was a bit moister, and a small part of the breast, but the rest (most of the chicken) was very dry. It had a good smoky flavor, but was dried out.

The ribs that Erin got were as good as the appetizers. They were again not very warm. In fact, they had cooled way too much after only about five minutes. I think that Ken’s ought to invest in a steam or under-grill warmer for the ribs. They were GOOD ribs!

We all got baked potatoes for the starch side. They were nice and tender, but there was not much in the way of dress-up; some butter and sour cream on the table.

There was a small amount of BBQ sauce on the table. It was thin and had grains of pepper and chili seasoning in it. There was little heat. I get the feeling that Ken’s would rather the BBQ be enjoyed without sauce. The sauce reminded me very much of the BBQ sauce used in the Sierra Nevada region for their tri-tip, which they call BBQ but is really roasted.

The tea was really good and in a decent sized glass, and kept full fairly well. Service was pretty good overall.

The rib and chicken dinners, it turns out, were $13 each, and the big steak $16. Our total check was $51.49. We left about 1830.

Overall, the meal was… pretty good. Is it worth driving fairly far out of your way, especially not accepting credit cards, having a limited choice of entrees, and at least one of those not very good for us (the chicken, and it could be an anomaly)? Given all this, I would say no. I have a bit of a bias against places that don’t take credit cards – it’s almost like saying “the heck with you, we have enough business”, and I’m generally all for avoiding those places. If you were taking the scenic route from Chickasha to Tuttle and were hungry, you could do worse than Ken’s (be advised – it’s only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1630 to maybe 2100).

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